This is one of those topics that can easily be misunderstood, so let me lead with this…
There’s so much duality in this topic, and I feel like I could contradict myself with every single thing that I say. So I want to lead with a request that you hold me in that and hold duality rather than being very in the ego and looking at it as very black and white.
Today, I want to talk about the way we gaslight ourselves when it comes to listening to our bodies.
Recently I was talking to someone about how she’s been doing so much work around opening up to her partner for a very long time. She’s been doing this work for four years, and she still doesn’t really want to have sex, she’s still closing up, becoming avoidant, etcetera.
Now, when I say she’s done so much work, I mean so much work. She’s worked with a million different types of coaches, read all the books, done all the feminine embodiment, all of those things. And what I ended up saying to her was, “I feel like there is wisdom in your closure.”
There is a difference between being avoidant and listening to your body when it’s telling you that this isn’t a fucking safe person for you. So what I want to start with is us actually not gaslighting ourselves about the wisdom and intelligence of our bodies.
We’re so quick to say, “I need to do more work. I need to hire another coach. I need to read another book. I need to just push through.” And while that can be true at times, there are other times when there’s a fucking reason that you’re closed to this person. There are times when you need to listen to your body and hear what it’s saying.
Maybe there’s a reason that every time you have sex with him, you get a yeast infection. Or maybe every time you have sex with this person, it’s painful. Maybe there’s a reason why whenever this person says something complimentary, you feel tension in your body because there’s a subtle energy of manipulation that you’re picking up.
Maybe there’s a reason why you are closed to this person. But instead of listening to your body, you gaslight yourself into thinking you’re just being avoidant. You just need to open up more. You need to soften. You need to surrender. You need to be more feminine.
Or…maybe you just need to listen to your body.
This is where we need that discernment around what exactly it is for us, because we need to have curiosity. If you’re not taking the time to listen to your body, if you’re not taking the time to self-reflect, if you’re not taking the time to have self-awareness, if you’re not remaining in curiosity about when you’re being avoidant and when your body is telling you what’s up, you’re going to get very off-track. You’re going to get involved with or stay with people that are not a good fit and actually are not safe people for you to be with when you don’t listen to your body.
This is why I will go on and on and on about listening to your body, because we need to be able to feel what’s going on. We need to be able to discern between what is a fucking trauma response and what’s actually our intuition.
I’ve spoken before about how everyone bangs on and on and on about having butterflies when you first meet someone, and I’m like…girl. That’s anxiety.
Listen to your body. You don’t want butterflies. You want to feel excited, definitely. You want to enjoy their company, you want to look forward to seeing them, but you also want to feel safe. You want to feel grounded. You don’t want this frantic, heart-palpitation energy. That should be a bit of a red flag; it should be a bit of a warning sign for you to slow the fuck down, be with yourself for a bit, listen to your body, and build that discernment.
For instance, for me, I used to get panic attacks a lot a few years back. There was roughly a year-long period where I was having one a month.
I was dating pretty heavily through this period, and I remember there were two different instances where I got bad butterflies.
I remember going on two dates with this one guy, and the first date was great. I had those butterflies, but I didn’t listen. I was so excited. I told all my friends that he was going to be my boyfriend, everything felt great.
Then we went on a second date. And I remember asking something about what happened in his last breakup, and I was just looking for whether or not he took any responsibility. I did this with a lot of people I was dating back then. I just wanted to see whether they were being forthcoming about what happened, or if they were blaming, shaming, judging, deflecting, etcetera.
His answer basically had a tone that said everything that had gone wrong was her fault. There was no accountability on his part. And I believed—and still do—that in every single situation, there’s some accountability that we can take. There’s always some sort of responsibility that we can take, so when he said that, I started to feel really ill. I started to feel very, very nauseous.
We went to a bar after that, had a few drinks, and I ended up like vomiting pretty much all night. (Cute, right?)
But I didn’t listen. I just told myself that maybe I ate something bad, even though deep down my body was like, “Absolutely not. Fuck this. Nope. He’s not a good fit.”
So the dates progressed, and it ended up being a complete disaster. I’m not going to go into details or specifics, but it was just not a vibe. I kind of dodged a bullet there.
Another time, I had this brilliant idea that I was going to go on Tinder, and I just wanted a little bit of casual fun, to be honest. I did not want anything more than that. It was when I was moving from Melbourne to Queensland, so nothing was going to progress anyway, and I wanted a bit of a younger guy. I wanted a bit of a cougar vibe. I think I was around thirty-one or so at the time.
So I looked for someone who was in their early twenties. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I did, and I matched with this guy. It was actually a very nice conversation. It was great. And I went on the date, and before I went, I started to feel sick.
Before I even got there, maybe an hour or two before, I actually threw up. I had to stop at a Red Rooster (If you’re not in Australia, it’s basically a McDonald’s kind of thing. It’s just a fast food joint), and I had to be sick.
I figured I was okay after that. I figured it was out of my system. So I went on the date. He ordered me an espresso martini. I had one sip. I went to the bathroom, I threw up, and I told him I had to leave. (I was a really fun date at the time, obviously.)
The point of sharing these stories is one, because it’s funny. But two, because they’re a good example of why you need to listen to your body when it tells you shit. In both situations, there was something my body knew that I didn’t consciously know.
My body kept telling me, “This isn’t a good fit. This doesn’t align with your values. This isn’t in integrity. This isn’t going to be a good thing for you. You’re not going to enjoy this. This isn’t the fucking vibe.” But I wasn’t listening to those little things. I wasn’t noticing that I felt dysregulated; I was jittery, my heartrate was starting to rise, I was getting a bit hot, but none of it piqued my curiosity.
I simply didn’t have that curiosity I needed to have. I wasn’t remaining in observation and awareness. So because I wasn’t listening to my body, it was like, “Fine, I’m going to make you vomit, then.”
I wanted to share about this so that you can start to stop and get curious and see where you might not be listening to your body and what it’s telling you.
Maybe your body’s signals don’t manifest as literally vomiting, which…I hope they don’t for you, because it is not a fun time. But it’s up to you to listen to your body to discern between first date jitters and actual red flags going up. Don’t gaslight your way out of it—stay curious, stay aware, and notice when things are coming up for you.
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I get it, girl. I’ve been there too. For years, I was going through the same experiences with men over and over again that left me feeling confused, anxious and pissed off.
I silenced myself in dating and relationships because I was terrified of being judged, rejected and abandoned. It all changed when I went through a break-up and thought “enough is enough. I cannot continue to repeat the same relationships with different men! Something HAS to change!”